Glencolton farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF farm-share members on a tour of the farm’s dairy barn in April of 2017.
The injunctions being sought at Newmarket Court next Monday and Tuesday may well be the final nail in the coffin of raw milk, if Ontario milk director Gavin Downing and the Region of York have their way.
The proposed injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, located about two hours northwest of Toronto, in Grey County near the town of Durham, and would also prohibit the continued distribution of raw milk from the farm to people in York Region. The injunctions would prohibit even advocating the consumption of raw milk. Simcoe Region and Peel Region have subsequently joined the injunction application, so people in those jurisdictions would also be affected, as well.
This farm has, in the past, faced numerous raw-milk-related charges, most recently arising from a raid in 2006. However, in the past, charges have been on the level of regulatory offenses. If the injunctions being sought are granted by the court, any continuation of these activities could result in criminal charges, not only for the persons named — Michael Schmidt, Elisa Van der Hout, and Markus Schmidt — but also for any John or Jane Doe, and for the Christian Community church which has been a distribution site. Continue reading
As Trial Nears for One Farm, the Supporters Take Action on Raw Milk Policy and Access
Toronto, Canada– September 23, 2016—Raw milk itself is on trial, say supporters, at a Monday September 26, two-day hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice. The past year has seen an unprecedented rise in consumer awareness, demand, and action to obtain this food. Raw milk drinkers cite a number of reasons for drinking raw milk from health reasons and taste, to political. For some immigrants, raw milk is a staple food in their native country.
The Ministry of Health does not think anyone should be able to access raw milk or drinking the beverage. The hearing will be held in the court building at 50 Eagle Street, West, Newmarket, Ontario.
In January of this year, York Region, The Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry Health filed an application to get an injunction against the distribution or sale of raw milk against Michael Schmidt, Elisa Vander Hout, Glencolton Farms, Agricultural Renewal Coop and anyone who provides, distributes or recommends raw milk. The hearing is to determine if the applications can be converted into an action. If successful, this would change the dynamics of the procedure from a hearing to a proper trial. People interested in procuring raw milk want this case to appear before a jury. Our Farm, Our Food Coop, one of the many organizations in support of consumer choice, has filed a motion to intervene as an added party to the proceedings, which would give all members a voice to defend their right to the foods of their choice. Continue reading
Police talk with farmshare members at a raid yesterday in Thornhill. It was raining.
It was a dark and rainy afternoon in Thornhill — a sleepy northern suburb of Toronto — when around 2 pm yesterday Sept. 29th, five York Region health department officials and two police arrived at the church parking lot where Glencolton Farms Farmshare members have been coming each week to collect their milk and other dairy products from their farm.
Glencolton Farms and Michael Schmidt
Glencolton Farms has been closely associated, since the mid-1980s with farmer and raw milk food rights advocate Michael Schmidt, though in recent years it has been reconstituted as a cooperative with shareholders, each of whom have invested $2,000 to buy a legal joint-ownership share of the entire farming operation.
The logic here, is that just as no one questions or takes any issue whatsoever regarding the widespread practice of farmers and members of their household drinking raw milk from their own farm’s bulk tank, so also this group of urban raw milk fans should be able to own a farm together and drink the milk from their own farm’s cows.
Last Tuesday’s Raid
According to Michael’s wife, Elisa, the officials arrived right at the start of the distribution and at first wanted to seize all the milk. They were eventually persuaded to just take samples. However, Elisa told them they would not be allowed on the van without a search warrant.
From Simon Martin, on York Region.com
Gary Wilson at the blue bus in the parking lot of Christian Community Church, having picked up his share of raw milk as well as other food from the farm. STAFF PHOTO/STEVE SOMERVILLE
“Five days into an indefinite hunger strike, raw milk champion Michael Schmidt looked no worse for wear. He appeared strong and energetic, although his wife said he has been a little more grumpy than usual.
“This is exactly what I’m getting,” he said, raising a glass of his farm-fresh unpasteurized milk. “I’m taking one glass a day of that dangerous milk.” Continue reading
Michael Schmidt has chosen these pictures to represent this decisive event in the history of raw milk in Ontario:
First block all traffic in or out of the farm
Filed under Background, News
First off, here’s a bit from a Canadian Press story dated Feb 12, from the CTV.ca website:
The man at the centre of the controversy, raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt.
“TORONTO— The Ontario government is wasting its time by appealing a court ruling that found raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt was not guilty of violating the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Durham-based farmer and activist said Friday.
The Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed it is appealing last month’s decision by a justice of the peace to dismiss 19 charges against Schmidt to the Ontario Court of Justice, but did not elaborate on the reasons. Continue reading